Monkey See, Monkey Do…

Ever see someone look worriedly up at the sky? Ever try not to follow his gaze? It’s really hard not to. Remember the last time you saw someone yawn? Did it make you feel enticed enough to join in too? What about coughing? what happens when someone during class lecture starts coughing. We bet the first cough will be followed by at least a few others.

As for yawning, it’s no secret…yawning is contagious! Sitting alone in a room thinking about yawning can trigger it, as well. No one knows for sure what yawning is for or why it’s so contagious. What is known is that it it’s a behavior that involves “brain to brain” communication…involving the brain’s most primitive parts and that there is no thinking required. Once that neurological machinery in our head gets underway, it’s almost impossible to stop. We also know it is not the only behavior we have that is contagious.

Laughter is also contagious. Look into any kindergarten room and observe how what scientists call “glee” spreads like wildfire though the class. It can trigger waves of smiles and giggles, even if you didn’t hear the joke or think it was funny. Sometimes when we’re around laughing people, we start laughing and can’t stop. The harder we try, the worse it gets. Scientists believe laughter is a kind of biological way of drawing us together. It’s a kind of social glue that bonds us in a relationship. We don’t will it to happen, it just does.


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